Purporting to cite Obama's "arrogance," Rove misrepresented Obama's comments in latest WSJ column

››› ››› RYAN CHIACHIERE

In a Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove wrote, "After Rev. [Jeremiah] Wright repeated his anti-American slurs at the National Press Club, Mr. Obama said their relationship was forever changed -- but not because of what he'd said about America. Instead, Mr. Obama complained, 'I don't think he showed much concern for me.' " However, Rove cropped Obama's quote, excluding his next statement: "[M]ore importantly, I don't think he showed much concern for what we are trying to do in this campaign and what we're trying to do for the American people and with the American people."

In a June 26 Wall Street Journal column headlined "It's All About Obama," former White House deputy chief of staff and Fox News contributor Karl Rove criticized Sen. Barack Obama for his purported "arrogance" and "self-centeredness." As evidence, Rove wrote, "After Rev. [Jeremiah] Wright repeated his anti-American slurs at the National Press Club, Mr. Obama said their relationship was forever changed -- but not because of what he'd said about America. Instead, Mr. Obama complained, 'I don't think he showed much concern for me.' " Rove added: "Translation: Rev. Wright is an impediment to my ambitions." However, Rove cropped Obama's quote, excluding the line immediately following it, in which Obama said, "[M]ore importantly, I don't think he showed much concern for what we are trying to do in this campaign and what we're trying to do for the American people and with the American people." Moreover, during the same press conference, Obama specifically addressed what Wright "said about America":

But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS, when he suggests that Minister [Louis] Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century, when he equates the United States wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses. They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced. And that's what I'm doing very clearly and unequivocally here today.

Let me just close by saying this: I -- we started this campaign with the idea that the problems that we face as a country are too great to continue to be divided, that, in fact, all across America people are hungry to get out of the old divisive politics of the past.

I have spoken and written about the need for us to all recognize each other as Americans, regardless of race or religion or region of the country; that the only way we can deal with critical issues, like energy and health care and education and the war on terrorism, is if we are joined together. And the reason our campaign has been so successful is because we had moved beyond these old arguments.

What we saw yesterday out of Reverend Wright was a resurfacing and, I believe, an exploitation of those old divisions. Whatever his intentions, that was the result. It is antithetical to our campaign. It is antithetical to what I am about. It is not what I think American stands for.

Later, regarding proposals by the Obama and McCain campaigns for town hall meetings, Rove asserted of Obama:

Fearing 10 impromptu town halls, Mr. Obama parried the invitation by offering two such events -- one the night of July 4, when every ambulatory American is watching fireworks or munching hotdogs, and another in August. His spokesman then said, "Take it or leave it." So much for "anywhere, anytime."

But Obama's spokesman did not say "[t]ake it or leave it" with regard to his campaign's offer to McCain. Rather, the spokesman was reportedly characterizing the McCain campaign's offer as "take it or leave it," as Washington Post columnist David Broder wrote in his June 22 column:

[Obama campaign manager David] Plouffe said that in addition to the three traditional debates under official sponsorship later in the fall, there could be only two others -- one on economics on July 4 and another on foreign policy in August.

The McCain side said that few Americans would sacrifice their Independence Day holiday to watch a debate and reiterated its offer to meet Obama anywhere he wanted on any of the next 10 Thursdays.

At a news briefing last week, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs characterized that as a "take it or leave it" stance by the Republicans and suggested that discussions were finished.

From Rove's June 26 Wall Street Journal column:

Many candidates have measured the Oval Office drapes prematurely. But Barack Obama is the first to redesign the presidential seal before the election.

His seal featured an eagle emblazoned with his logo, and included a Latin version of his campaign slogan. This was an attempt by Sen. Obama to make himself appear more presidential. But most people saw in the seal something else -- chutzpah -- and he's stopped using it. Such arrogance -- even self-centeredness -- have featured often in the Obama campaign.

Consider his treatment of Jeremiah Wright. After Rev. Wright repeated his anti-American slurs at the National Press Club, Mr. Obama said their relationship was forever changed -- but not because of what he'd said about America. Instead, Mr. Obama complained, "I don't think he showed much concern for me."

Translation: Rev. Wright is an impediment to my ambitions. So, as it turns out, are some of Mr. Obama's previous pledges.

For example, Mr. Obama has said he "strongly supported public financing" and pledged to take federal funds for the fall, thereby limiting his spending to roughly $84 million. Now convinced he can raise more than $84 million, he reversed course last week, ditching the federal money and its limits. But by discarding his earlier pledge so easily, he raises doubts about whether his word can be trusted.

Last month he replied "anywhere, anytime" to John McCain's invitation to have joint town hall appearances. Last week he changed his mind. Fearing 10 impromptu town halls, Mr. Obama parried the invitation by offering two such events -- one the night of July 4, when every ambulatory American is watching fireworks or munching hotdogs, and another in August. His spokesman then said, "Take it or leave it." So much for "anywhere, anytime."

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Wall Street Journal
Person
Karl Rove
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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